Your Guide to 2018 Exhibition & Experience Design Tours

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The 2018 Exhibition & Experience Design eventwill be here August 23-24 (read: it’s time to registerfor the event and sign up for optional tours)! Washington, D.C. is the perfect setting for this event centered on exhibition and experience design as the city is home to over 75 museums. Offered in the morning and afternoon, this year’s tours present a behind-the-scenes look at five of the District’s top museums.

We know, it’s tough to choose just one or two tours, especially when they’re all so informative! (We won’t be surprised if a few ambitious folks do three in one day.) To help with your decision, we compiled descriptions of each:


Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

8:00–10:00 am with NMAAHC in-house exhibit team, 2:00–4:00 pm with Steve Haas of SH Acoustics (New York)

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, prior to its opening, was one of the most highly anticipated new museums worldwide. The museum has continued to be hugely popular, receiving more than 3.5 million visitors since its opening in September 2016. Additionally, the exhibition designs in the museum won two 2017 SEGD Global Design Awards. The NMAAHC is home to more than 36,000 artifacts and covers the rich 400-year history of African American culture. Join us in the morning for a pre-visitor-hours tour from the NMAAHC in-house exhibit team themselves and get an exclusive look at the design behind this spectacular museum. If you’re not an early bird but still want to tour the museum, Steve Haas of SH Acoustics will be leading an afternoon tour with valuable insights on the exhibit design, audio and acoustics for the museum’s permanent exhibits.

Museum of the Bible

10:00 am–12:00 pm, 2:00–4:00 pm with Alin Tocmacov of C&G Partners (New York)

Home to Friday’s sessions, the Museum of the Bible is another spectacular new addition to the District’s offerings. Both the morning and afternoon sessions of this tour are led by Alin Tocmacov of C&G Partners. The firm is home to the exhibition designers responsible for one of the museum’s main gallery floors, the brand and museum signage. Spanning a history of 3,500 years, the Museum of the Bible has an impressive number of rare artifacts and offers visitors an immersive, in-depth view of the history and impact of the Bible. Explore the museum on Thursday and then impress your colleagues with your extensive knowledge of the exhibition’s design on Friday when we reconvene there for the event’s five main sessions.

National Museum of the American Indian: Americans Exhibit

2:00–4:00 pm with Sara Pasch of Bluecadet (Philadelphia), Monica Coghlan and José-Luis Vidalon of Studio Joseph (New York)

The National Museum of the American Indian is home to numerous objects, photographs, archives and media, making up one of the world’s most expansive collections of American Indian artifacts originating from across the western hemisphere. Led by Sara Pasch of Bluecadet and Monica Coghlan and José-Luis Vidalon of Studio Joseph, this tour will cover the “Americans” exhibit. This exhibit details the role played by Native Americans not only in the history of the nation but also in contemporary pop culture and identity. The National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to elevating the voices of indigenous peoples and ensures that the visitor has an authentic, engaging experience that drives home the importance of honoring and recognizing American Indian influences.  (P.S. NMAI has an excellent cafeteria.)

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

10:00 am–12:00 pm with Sara Silversmith of Howard+Revis (Washington)

The intense and deeply important United States Holocaust Memorial Museum experience leaves visitors with a powerful message about protecting human dignity and inspires in them a greater sense of moral responsibility. This museum addresses the Holocaust from a simultaneously historical and personal standpoint, seeking to educate, memorialize and caution against the perils of xenophobia and hatred. The museum has received more than 40 million visitors since 1993, and continues to attract people from all over the world, including 99 heads of state. Sara Silversmith of Howard+Revis will lead this tour, offered in the morning time slot. The firm has designed five exhibits for the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the most recent being “Anne Frank, The Writer,” an exhibit dedicated to her life and work. 

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery: America’s Presidents

2:00–4:00 pm with Jim Spadaccini of Ideum (CorralesNM) and the SNPG in-house exhibit team

Participants at this year’s event will have the opportunity to attend an exclusive tour of another fantastic museum—the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Since its opening in 1968, the Gallery has been collecting portraits and currently holds the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House. Rendered in different styles and mediums, the portrayals of America’s leaders are varied and deeply unique. The presidents of our nation have irrevocably shaped the history of the United States and the gallery pays homage to each of them and their contributions. Notably, artist Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of 44th President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been a huge draw for D.C. visitors, and participants on this tour will be able to see the portraits in person. 


Tours are $50 and fill up quickly—don’t hesitate. Register now. Need more info? Check out the event page.